By Catholic News Service
MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — The Catholic Church’s social arm in the Philippines is working with the Coca-Cola Foundation to provide aid to survivors of Super Typhoon Rai.
Both organizations said March 25 that they have been working to provide housing and other material aid to victims in Negros Occidental province in the central part of the country, reported ucanews.com. The province was one of the hardest-hit areas in December when the typhoon struck, causing at least $100 million worth of damage in the agriculture sector.
The partnership between Caritas Philippines and the Coca-Cola Foundation is helping residents repair their homes, particularly in villages with no electricity.
“Caritas Philippines and the Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines … recently distributed aid to Typhoon Rai victims still living in makeshift shelters,” Caritas Philippines said in a March 25 Facebook post.
Ucanews.com reported Caritas said the partnership was able to help 28,000 families in Kabankalan Diocese. Building materials provided included metal roofing, plywood sheets, umbrella nails, solar lamps and a radio, Caritas added.
Cecilia Alcantara, president of Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines, said the corporation’s partnership with Caritas could be a model for corporations and the church to work hand in hand in helping the poor.
“The partnership is important to me both as an employee of the corporation and a Catholic, because here I see the close relationship between the Catholic Church and the private sector,” Alcantara told church-run Radio Veritas.
Alcantara also encouraged other private companies to help the Catholic Church, especially in financing humanitarian projects, ucanews.com reported.
“Private institutions may have the resources, and the church knows where (they) should go,” she added. “Because we have trust in the church, we know that the help that we give will be used right and correctly.”
Kabankalan Bishop Louie Galbines said more than 30,000 people have received aid so far, although many still do not have electricity and decent housing.
“Many of our parishioners are still feeling the wrath of the typhoon after how many months. They could not repair their homes. They don’t have jobs to finance the repair work,” the bishop told Radio Veritas.
He said rehabilitation programs for farmers were not only based on handouts but on strategic planning and responsibility.
“It should be done in a systematic way,” he said.